Friday, December 12, 2014

azul tequila, a review

Recently talking about local Mexican fare with one of my friends, an actual foodie with actual good taste, he suggested I try local Mexican restaurant, Azul Tequila. Having eaten there once previously, and not ever having plans to go back, I was indeed shocked. People that actually appreciate food don't often suggest what I thought was a churched up, sit down, version of Taco Bell; dude knows his food, so a second chance was in order.

He even kindly went so far as to post on my facebook, two different dishes to try, with a friendly reminder to try the hot sauce. I replied, letting him know I would go this weekend. You probably didn't need to know that I replied to his fb posting. But now you do, so whatever. Anyway, lucky us, this weekend apparently came on Thursday, as Heckyeahwoman and I ate there last night.

We went with both of my friend's suggestions: I, the Carne al Chipotle, Heckyeahwoman, the Fajita Poblana. Probably a more accurate description would be me: most of both dishes, Heckyeahwoman: small parts of both. The waiter wasn't sure about the house hot sauce, so he brought a red (actually brownish) one. Bonus points for having a cucumber margarita on the menu. Minus a couple though for it tasting mainly like sugar.

My dish was tasty, but I think that might have been more due to it being covered in a creamy, rich, often cheesy sauce. It was ribeye cut into chunks, cooked with squash, served with a side of standard Mexican-seasoned rice. Enjoyable, yeah, but not in the way I was hoping, instead in the way I have experienced many times over, at every other Americanized Mexican restaurant - natural flavor obfuscated by sauce. (Naturally) fatty meat covered in a delicious cheesy sauce is probably going to be pleasing to the palette no matter what.

The Fajitas Poblana came out smelling delicious, though I think that is true for every fajita ever. Here's the thing about fajitas, and a lot of other things in life: true flavor and quality get masked, and often misrepresented, by accompaniments and garnishes. In this case, the fajita fixings are just a part of whatever you roll with it into a tortilla. These fajitas were made with pork, specifically carnitas, possibly my favorite meat of all time.

The million dollar question: did Azul manage to fuck up the carnitas here, and if so, will it be quite as epic a fuck up as what Shitcun's/Crapcun's/Cancun's passes off as carnitas? Answer: a stuttering "no". The bland, relatively flavorless pork meat was truly the definition of "meh", but not the soggy shitshow that Cancun's presented. So in case you couldn't read what I didn't type, the fajitas, as a whole, and as expected, were really good.

Overall, while this review probably comes across as pretty brutal, I think "meh to decent" is the best way to describe the visit. Note that I am a known and confirmed asshole and really like Mexican food. And "meh to decent" quality Mexican food is actually equivalent to nine out of ten stars for anything else, so I definitely left happy.

So Mr. fancy-pants food expert Heckyeahman, if this place is so shitty, exactly where in the hell do you recommend we eat Mexican in the greater Eau Claire metro area? First, it's not shitty, it was just meh. But easy: Tacos Juanita. And after a year of eating there every goddamn day, throw Taqueria La Poblanita into the mix. And then don't forget La Misma Luna. Those three places are my personal trifecta of good eatin' in Eau Claire.

Friend who will remain unnamed in this blog, if you're out there, and reading this, keep the suggestions coming!

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